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Cong-backed nominee

Ahmad Saeed Malihabadi

Calcutta, Jan. 27: Rajya Sabha MP Ahmad Saeed Malihabadi will file his nomination tomorrow as a Congress-backed Independent candidate and will have the support of the Left.

The sitting MP, who was backed by the Left the last time too, will ensure a direct fight with Ahmed Hassan, Trinamul’s fourth nominee.

The Congress has 38 MLAs and needs 11 more to get Malihabadi re-elected to the Rajya Sabha. The Left Front has already decided to back the Independent candidate with its 12 excess votes.

Trinamul, which said it was sure of the victory of three of its candidates — actor Mithun Chakraborty, painter Jogen Chowdhury and industrialist K.D. Singh, today hoped Hassan would win too, expecting some Congress legislators to defy the party whip and back Hassan.

“Hassan needs 49 votes to win. We have 45 votes, including that of two Independent MLAs and three Gorkha Janmukti Morcha legislators. We will require four more, which we are expecting from some Congress legislators who are willing to join Trinamul,” a senior Trinamul leader said.

All Trinamul nominees and the sole Left Front candidate, Ritabrata Banerjee, submitted their nomination papers at the state Assembly today.

“I have the support of the Congress and the Left. Last time too, I got support from both parties,” Malihabadi said.